Liverpool would be getting one of the best deals in history if they were able to engineer a swap with Arsenal involving Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott, according to former Gunners stalwart Paul Merson.
Walcott has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular at the Emirates Stadium in recent weeks following his return from a lengthy injury lay-off, while fellow England international Sterling has been at the centre of fervent transfer speculation after confirming he had rejected the opportunity to sign a lucrative contract extension.
With the former also appearing to have reached somewhat of an impasse during his own negotiations, several media outlets have suggested Liverpool could be convinced to relinquish their top asset in exchange of Walcott and a sum in the region of £20m ($29m).
"If Theo Walcott goes to Liverpool, Raheem Sterling goes to Arsenal and Liverpool get some money, I think Liverpool have had the best deal ever," Merson, who spent 12 years at Arsenal between 1985 and 1997, told Sky Sports in his role as a regular pundit.
"If he goes to Arsenal, will he play? I don't think he's an Arsenal player. I don't think he gets his head up or moves the ball quick enough. It's unbelievable, Liverpool, one of the biggest clubs in the world are offering him £100,000 a week and he's turning it down... not for me.
"I think he's going to struggle. The fans will be on his back very quickly. He should get his head down and take the money. He's been badly advised. Actually, badly advised isn't even the word – it's worse than that."
Such a high-profile swap seems rather unlikely on the surface, although Liverpool's hand may be forced in the event that Sterling, currently contracted until 2017, does not agree to sign a new deal at the end of the season.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who has not been shy in criticising the manner in which Sterling's camp have approached the player's situation of late, is believed to hold Walcott in high regard but it certainly remains to be seen if Arsenal would be willing to part with a player they signed almost a decade ago as a promising 16-year-old.
Although he has refused to be drawn on rumours suggesting Arsenal will attempt to lure Sterling away from Merseyside during the upcoming summer transfer window, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger did herald him as a "top player" prior to the 4-1 victory over Liverpool on 4 April.
Walcott was an unused substitute for his side during the 1-0 victory over Burnley on 11 April, while Sterling is almost certain to start for the visit of Newcastle to Anfield.